Even in ordinary times, one of the biggest challenges for family caregivers is feeling isolated or alone. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone to stay home, we know that many caregivers may feel more isolated than ever. This in turn may cause more stress and lead to burnout if left unchecked. One of the solutions you need right now is to get the support you need for yourself and the person you are caring for.
First, let us help. We have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, even though our office practices have changed slightly. We still meet with clients over the phone: we can execute and notarize documents through video conferences and through video conferencing. We also provide “drive by signings” in our parking lot or, in other words, a safe space for you to sign and get the estate planning documents you need. If you, or your loved ones, need Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning, or other Elder Law services, we encourage you to let us help you. We are also holding ‘face-to-face’ meetings with clients who meet certain criteria, but our office follows all appropriate social distancing and screening protocols.
Second, do not wait to ask for help as a caregiver. Experts say one way to combat this is by joining online support groups while social distancing is in place. You may have questions on how to join online support groups. Know that support groups are accessible through social media. If you are already on social media, you may want to think about joining some of the support groups there.
There are a number of different groups catering to caregivers with different needs on Facebook. These include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- Dementia Caregivers Support Group which has more than 15,000 members and caters specifically to caregivers looking after loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
- The Caregivers Hub Support Group which is specifically designed as a resource for new caregivers and has nearly 7,000 members.
- Caring for Elderly Parents which is a large group with more than 13,000 members. It serves as a resource for children who are looking after their parents. Although it is a forum where members are free to ask questions, vent and listen, articles about COVID-19 are specifically prohibited at this time.
- Working Daughter which is a group where women who are working and caring for aging parents can find encouragement, advice and support. It has more than 3,100 members.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind here. The first is that this is not an exhaustive list. The second is that because these group pages are private, access must be approved. Only members can see who is in the group, share, and respond to posts. This means there is a forum in which to voice your concerns without worrying about it being seen by someone outside the group.
There are other ways to find and access online support groups. Many organizations, such as the AARP, provide support or links to support for family caregivers directly on their websites. Others include the Alzheimer’s Association and the Caregiver Action Network. Again, this is not an exhaustive list. If you do not see a support group that meets your needs here, consider speaking with your loved one’s healthcare team about groups that may help.
In the meantime, you can continue to count on us for any legal assistance and support you may need. Please do not hesitate to contact us by email or phone to schedule a virtual appointment, at any time.